Arsene Wenger was in an unsurprisingly bullish mood last night when questioned about his latest touchline ban.
As has been well documented the boss will not be in the dugout this evening after UEFA imposed a three-game suspension as punishment for his referee rant in the aftermath of last season’s Champions League second-leg match with AC Milan.
Having been given a single game ban for complaining to officials after defeat in the Nou Camp two seasons go, Wenger was slapped with a further two-game extension after UEFA goons claimed he flouted the terms of said ban by communicating with Pat Rice on the bench during the Champions League qualifier with Udinese.
With three suspensions to his name in less than eighteen months, Wenger understandably spoke in exasperated terms about the futility of dealing with European football’s governing body.
“It [the ban] is a nightmare,” Wenger told press in Montpellier.
“Honestly, many people in UEFA, even [Michel] Platini, said that we should still let people work, even if they are suspended. It’s part of the job and therefore a restriction of work.
“But I don’t make a fuss of it. They love to suspend me. How should they punish people? Financially? But they do both. They punish you financially and they ban you.”
Asked whether he understands what is and isn’t allowed under the terms of his ban, Wenger continued:
“Honestly, nobody knows really, even at UEFA, what is allowed and not allowed.
“Let’s not forget that I was suspended last year for having done what they told me I can do.
“When I went back there and said: ‘Why do you want to punish me?’ They said: ‘Because you communicated with your bench.’ I said: ‘But you allowed me to do it.’ They said: ‘We made a mistake. But we punish you anyway’.”
It’s likely that Sky, no doubt in a similar fashion to a paparazzo with a hard-on zooming in on a princesses’ baps, will take long-lens pleasure charting the boss’ every movement this evening as he’s escorted to his seat in the stands.
There’s little doubt he has been hard done by in the last couple of years, but if a silver lining can be gleaned it’s that the experience should give Steve Bould and Neil Banfield vital experience in the deep end.8,365 views